The iPad 16 code confirms the ability to enable Stage Manager on older iPads

Here we are again with another article about Stage Manager. One of the main features of the iPadOS 16 has upset many iPad users as it requires the M1 chip, so that users of older iPad models are stuck with the original iPadOS multitasking system without floating windows. But it seems that Apple has its own ways of activating Stage Manager on older iPads.

After all the controversy regarding Stage Manager, 9to5Mac decided to investigate by looking at the iPadOS 16 code. What we have found is that Apple actually has an internal mode to enable Stage Manager on older iPads.

The codes refer to an internal setting that enables “Chamois” (Stage Manager code name) for “Legacy Devices.” In other words, it makes the feature work with all other non-M1 iPads running iPadOS 16. This is consistent with a statement from Apple’s chief software engineer Craig Federighi, who said that Apple ran tests with Stage Manager on several iPad models. before they decided that the feature requires the M1 chip.

We started some of our prototypes with these systems, and it turned out early on that we could not deliver the experience we developed against them. Sure, we want to bring every new experience to every unit we can, but we also do not want to hold back the definition of a new experience and not create the best foundation for the future of that experience. And we could really only do that by building on the M1.

Of course, this does not mean that Stage Manager works smoothly on older iPads, but having this option hidden in the first developer beta of iPadOS 16 suggests that the company’s engineers can still run tests with the feature on some other iPad models.

Stage Manager controversy

Having exclusive features for new hardware is nothing new. When it comes to Stage Manager, however, users seem skeptical of the limitations Apple has pointed out.

For example, Craig Federighi said in an interview that swapping virtual memory (which is only available on the M1 chip) was crucial to creating Stage Manager since the feature supports up to eight apps that are open simultaneously. However, it was later discovered that the 64 GB iPad Air 5, which supports Stage Manager, lacks memory swap.

Apple executives also pointed out that Stage Manager requirements had to be super high since the feature has smooth animations and beautiful shadows, but this also seems controversial since the feature is available for Intel Macs as old as 2017 with macOS Ventura.

It is currently unclear whether Apple will reconsider the requirements for Stage Manager in iPadOS 16. Last year when macOS Monterey was announced, Live Text was an exclusive feature for M1 Macs. However, after several complaints, Apple has made the feature available for Intel Macs as well.

I’m just wondering if we’ll ever see for ourselves how Stage Manager works on non-M1 iPads to draw our own conclusions thanks to some jailbreak tool.

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